In our classroom, we use a multi-sensory approach to learning to benefit all of the students. Along with the number poem rhymes, we also incorporate number writing in these fun ways:
- Sky-writing (“write” the number in the air with your finger”)
- Desk writing (trace the number on your desk with dry-erase marker or even use shaving cream)
- Tracing over the number poem sheets with highlighter, crayon, pencil, etc.
- Tracing the number sheets with our fingers.
- Using sensory materials and fine motor tools, such as tracing with a paintbrush in a tray of colored rice.
- Using Boom Cards to practice tracing and forming numbers on the iPad.
At the beginning of the year, I like to start small by introducing the number poems. We say them together many times and they watch me add the actions. Then I have them join me for sky-writing and they practice the actions while we say it together. To make this more fun, I say, “airplanes up!” They hold up their writing hand and are ready to go. After a few rounds of sky-writing, I say, “land your airplanes” and then we practice forming the numbers on our desks, which is a different visual that I find helpful for them. Before you move on to using writing tools, have them practice tracing the number poem sheets with their finger.
Incorporate Writing Tools
Once your students have the basics of the number formation, you can give them a writing tool to try tracing and writing their numbers. You can print a copy of the number poem reference sheet for each student and laminate it. They can practice tracing the numbers with a dry-erase marker and erase it. If you want to print less, have them take turns using the sheets. You can also give them paper versions and have them trace with highlighter, crayon, or pencil.
Use Fine Motor and Sensory Tools
Another way to practice number formation is with sensory materials and fine motor tools. You can have your number poem sheets hung up as posters for your students to see as they practice tracing and forming numbers in different ways. Your students can form numbers using their fingers or writing utensils such as pencils, a paintbrush, etc. Some different sensory materials they can practice numbers with are:
- Colored rice
- Gel bags
- Colored pasta
Practice With Apps
There are also several great apps available that help students practice number formation. Many of them are free, too! My students love Letter School and Little Writer. These apps offer great visuals to help students learn how to write them and where to start and end.